In the Land of Perfect Pinot

by | Oct 27, 2008

The Wall Street Journal investigates more than stocks and bonds, for people who make money also enjoy spending money. As one of those people, I especially enjoy spending money on fine wine from Oregon’s top producers.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, who write the Journal’s “Tastings” column, suggest several pinots from the banner 2006 vintage, while also providing some background on the specialness of the fruit and the local industry that’s grown up around it.

We are delighted to report that Oregon Pinot continues its upward trajectory. The difference in the wines over the years is remarkable. We found again and again in this tasting that the wines have developed a confidence and depth that beautifully complement their lovely fruit. The wines have not only a purity of fruit but a purity of vision that is very attractive. Like Burgundy itself, these are wines that speak softly to the more romantic parts of our being.

The winemakers allowed the vineyards themselves, the fruit itself, the terroir itself, to star. This is what makes great Pinot what it is — an expression of place. When we tasted these wines, we imagined the vintners standing among the vines crushing a grape between their fingers, smiling broadly and deciding that the best thing they could do is not screw it up. This made the wines, on the whole, both tasty and relaxed, as though no one was trying too hard (though we know, of course, what really goes into this).

The couple’s “Dow Jones Oregon Pinot Noir Index” follows:

Domaine Serene “Evenstad Reserve” 2005 (Willamette Valley). $52.99.

Foris Vineyards Winery 2006 (Rogue Valley). $18.99.

Yamhill Valley Vineyards “Estate” 2006 (McMinnville, Willamette Valley). $19.95.

Beaux Frères 2006 (Willamette Valley) $54.95.

Francis Tannahill “The Hermit” 2005 (Willamette Valley). $41.99.

King Estate Winery “Signature Collection” 2006 (Oregon). $29.99.

Ponzi Vineyards 2006 (Willamette Valley). $37.99.

Roco (Dundee Wine Co.) 2006 (Willamette Valley). $39.99.